Next Stop: Montgomery, AL

As you read this, I am on the 1000 mile road to Montgomery, Alabama.  I’ll be living there for the next 6 weeks. montgomery, alabama

Due to my husband’s job, we will be residing down there for the next 6-8 weeks.  It came up last minute so instead of mentioning it when we found out (about 3 weeks ago), we chose to keep it quiet.  With anything in the military, things can change last minute, so you never know.

We told family and a few friends but other than that we didn’t tell a whole heck of a lot of people.  But if you don’t blog about it, it never happened right?

Of course, I feel guilty that many people will find out via this blog post or Facebook, but it all happened so suddenly.  I enjoy living in New Jersey but six weeks is not a long time in the grand scheme of things.

As most people know, I work in a running specialty store.  Luckily, January and February are the quieter, so it wasn’t as big of a deal for me to need the time off.  I am lucky RunningCo. is good to me.

So I guess there isn’t much more to say.  I’ll be in the Montgomery area for the next 6 weeks. I’ll be relatively busy but if you’re local or have any recommendations for the area let me know.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to get down to Pensacola as well as Atlanta for at least a day or two.

Questions for you:

Have you ever had a short term move?

Have you ever been to Montgomery?  Do you any have recommendations of things to do?

Beat 539 Half Marathon (1:25:28)

Despite the rain, wind and delayed start I got everything I wanted out of the base (Beat 539) half marathon. I was able to negative split the race and come back strong, after running hard the weekend before.

Do you race well in the rain?

Last Saturday I ran the base half marathon which was also called the “Beat 539 half marathon”.  The full marathon runs along Route 539 and if you have to run faster than 5 hours for 19 miles.

The full is USATF certified, and on a good weather day, it’s a fast course (minimal wind, blocked road, flat).  Since there were several races that weekend: (Atlantic City as well as the Perfect 10 Miler), all of the races had a small turnout.  There were about 200 people who ran the half marathon and 100 that ran the full.

My dad came up as well last weekend to visit.  Together we drove to Lakehurst base for the start of the half.  Since it was on base, the entire car was searched back to front.  (Even though we were both military).  When we got there, we headed to the fitness center where the other runners were.  Around 7:30, everyone headed outside.  I had no idea why and by the time I knew it, we were the only ones in the building.

I didn’t want to head outside, but I also didn’t want to be the only ones inside. It was pouring rain, 40 degrees and windy. Once I went outside, I realized everyone was walking close to a mile (yes a mile) to the start line.

Beat 539 half marathon start
Before we knew we were getting delayed

After getting to the start line in the pouring rain, the race was postponed.  There was flooding along the course due to the storm and the race director informed us there were sections that were completely flooded over.  By 8:30, I was freezing, miserable and not even wanting to run. For those who don’t know, I don’t run well in the rain.  I would rather run when it’s 100 degrees than when it’s 40 degrees and rainy.

Unfortunately this year alone I’ve run Shamrock half marathon, Broad Street 10 miler and this race in the pouring 40-degree rain.  So life is trying to make me love the rain.  Due to my luck, I bought a Gortex jacket and haven’t looked back.

To the race: once we started at 8:41, I was cold and miserable.  I wasn’t warmed up, and I didn’t feel good.  My goal was to run 6:40-6:50 the first half and try and hammer down after that.  Due to weather, I wouldn’t be disappointed if that didn’t happen.

I felt stiff during the first two miles.  My legs were tired; I was shivering, and I was just trying to warm up.  I was running in a pack of about four people.  There was one male leader ahead followed by my pack.  The course went through a few rolling hills, and I ran a 6:40 then 6:43.

Around mile 3, I found myself with one other male.  We were running alone with the first male way far ahead.  It was the last time I would run with anyone.  Around mile 4 I left him and ran the entire race all by myself.  That’s what happens with small races, though.

From mile 4-6, we were running on a couple different runways and roads.  It was a lot of side wind and not much view.  It was boring, lonely and honestly mentally challenging.  There were no spectators except several military personal passing out water every other mile.

I noticed cones going in the opposite direction, and I was excited.  It meant that there was an out and back portion and I would get to see other runners.  Out and back courses typically motivate me and seeing other runners motivate me too.  I’m a talkative runner and people cheer for me; I cheer for them too.  Out and back courses generally pump me up.

As I headed around mile 6, we entered a soft muddy ground.  I assumed this would be the portion that was flooded over and caused the delayed start.  The next mile was muddy were soft.  My feet sunk in but it wasn’t flooded (yet).  Then I saw the flooded section.  There was no way around it, and I just closed my eyes, cursed about 20 vulgar words under my breath and charged straight through.  It was about ankle deep.

There was another flooded section, and I charged through that too.  After that, I mentally regrouped.  I hit the halfway point in 43:40.

My A goal at the halfway was to drop the hammer and negative split the race.

My B goal was to maintain the same pace and be under 1:28.

My C goal was to finish because and not have a situation like Shamrock earlier this year.  As you can see, that race haunts me. 

And then for me, the race began.  The second half of the race went by much faster than the first.  I ran mile 7 in 6:16 and I began feeling confident.  I felt as if I had finally warmed up.  Mile 8 and 9 were both at 6:16 too.  Since I was running the race entirely by myself, there isn’t a lot to say.  I could see the overall male about 30 seconds in front of me.  I wanted to catch him!

During mile 11, we rounded a turn, and I could see the finish line.  Since the base is open (Lakehurst is a flight base so there are very few trees and you can see for miles), I could see the finish line 2 miles away.

The finish line is at the moment of the famous Hindenburg disaster.  Before the race, I actually did not realize that happened in New Jersey.  The blimp hanger is huge (over 300 feet tall and 900 in length), so you can see that for a lot of the race.

hindenburg disaster
Image via Weird New Jersey

It felt like we were almost done, but anyone running a half marathon can tell you, 2 miles is a long way.  I guess I was overly motivated and ran a 6:07 11th mile.

As we rounded a turn into mile 12, it hit me.  It began hailing, and there was a significant headwind.  It was blowing me backward as I tried to progress forwards.  Except mile 16 at the NYCM, it was one of the hardest miles I’ve run.  It was windy, hailing and I could see the finish line.  It just wasn’t coming any closer.

Base half marathon me running

My effort was still high but due to the wind, I ran the last mile in 6:40.   Finally, I crossed the finish in 1:25.29.  I quickly grabbed warmed clothing and changed afterward.

Thoughts:

After racing Runners World 5k and Half last weekend, I wasn’t expecting to be faster.  With the weather, I got everything I wanted out of the race.  If you are looking for a flat, fast marathon, I recommend it.

Questions for you:
Rain: Love it or hate it?
What is the smallest race you’ve run?  How about the biggest?
I think the Run from the Sun half in Watertown, NY was a little smaller but this is one of the smallest halves I’ve run. 

Have you ever had a delayed race start? 

 

Training: Recovery and a Hail Storm

Most of my training was spent recovering from the Runner’s World 5k and Half Marathon.  Earlier in the year, I also signed up to do the inaugural base half marathon on Saturday.  If it had been any other race, with no special meaning to me, I probably would have skipped it.

Of course, it was pouring rain, windy as well as hailing…but why wouldn’t it be?  Pour rain, hail, wind and 40 degrees is my race anthem of 2016.

Monday: Easy Run
Tuesday: Easy Run/Deep Tissue Massage
Wednesday: Easy Run
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Easy Run
Saturday: Base Half Marathon 13.1 (1:25.30)
Sunday: Easy Run

Thoughts:

All of my easy runs were easy and solo.  I missed running with friends this week and don’t have anything to say about any of the runs.  My body spent most of the week recovery from Runner’s World and with the help of a deep tissue massage, I did just that. I didn’t fully recover, but I did the best I could.

Base Half Marathon (1:25.30)

There were several races this past weekend I wanted to do.  The Atlantic City half, as well as the Perfect 10, are both competitive and fun races.  I’ve run with both organizations and can vouch for either.  As I mentioned, if it had been any other race I probably would have skipped it but running the base half marathon meant a lot to me.  Since it was the inaugural race, it was much smaller (200 half marathoners). There was also a 5k and full marathon.  (Which realistically I could have done the 5k instead too…I’m a sucker for the 13.1)

Due to a storm, the race was delayed 41 minutes.  So we stood outside in the pouring rain for 41 minutes.  So it was cold!

My goal was to run 6:40-6:50 pace for the first half and then hopefully negative split.  I did just that and cranked hard in the second half, with the final mile in a hail storm (yes hail!) as well as a nasty headwind.  I’m very happy with my performance, and despite not feeling 100% recovered plus being cold and miserable, I made the best of the situation and didn’t have a repeat Shamrock.  I’ll have a long recap this week. Base Half Marathon splits

As you can see, I had a great race for what I was looking for.  This race gives me the confidence I am in half marathon PR shape, but I have a lot more room to improve.

In summary, I’m happy with the week, and I’m happy with my race performance at the half marathon.  I’m probably back to square one in recovering, though…

Questions for you:

Do you have any races that are close to your heart?

Have you ever had a delayed race?

Life as a Military Spouse

While this is (mostly) a running blog, it’s also a personal blog too.  After a long conversation with a friend, I realized where

I find myself constantly going back and forth of being: 

A “proud military spouse.”

To finding my own identity…

To being frustrated with the military because everything changes so rapidly…. 

I’ll always be proud of what my husband does, whether he is in the military or not.

Finding my own identity is a post by itself.  In conversation, I don’t care to talk about myself a lot (ironic since I’ve been blogging for five years), but I find myself questioning my identity.

Am I Hollie, military spouse?  Hollie the runner? Hollie the volunteer? Hollie the blogger?  To be honest, I don’t have an answer to that, and I find myself lost in my own identity.

And of course, the last frustration component makes up most of this blog. 

You know what?

Life has been hard.

Not in a whiny sense but in a talk real sense.  My husband and I are preparing for another deployment soon.  By “preparing”, I mean the Air Force needed him for another last minute trip, and he is currently away doing something else.  The trip was only supposed to last four days but four days turned to 5…6…7…and we are still counting upwards.

In the next 16 days, there is a lot to do before the deployment.  None of these things, he (or I) can do while he is away doing something else.  Sure there are goodbyes, but there is a lot of paperwork and misc tasks that have to be done beforehand.

These tasks are done on top of working a normal job.  What most people don’t realize is that also with the military, you don’t just “fly some” and come home.  When you’re not flying you’re back doing things on base too.  So it isn’t like a vacation when he is back. Not that he has been back to do that.

Essentially neither of us work regular hours.  Today (Friday) was our only day off together for the next 16 days, but that didn’t pan out. With my job, I must request days off a month in advance.  Working in retail that is what happens.  You can’t call in sick because if you do, the store can’t function. It ultimately strains the store.

I love my job but to give you an idea of how August played out, I asked for four days off to spend with my husband.  All four of those days he had emergency missions.  All four of those days off were wasted for me.  If I hadn’t requested off, I’m sure he would have had off.

With the military, your plans are always changing.  Your needs can often come behind the needs of the AF and the county.  I love my husband, and we are in a happy marriage but this month has tested both my stress and anxiety.  I would by lying if I said I hadn’t cried when several plans were canceled. Is it the end of the world?  No, but it’s frustrating.

I’m not a perfect wife, military spouse or person.  I do know that if he could, my husband wouldn’t cancel plans.  

So where does this leave me now? 
The same place I started.  Unfortunately, my plans are often dependent on what the needs of the military.  I’ll keep trucking on and we will make the best of the situation as we normally do.

A Weekend at the Air Show

I’m a little late posting but last weekend, my husband, and I attended and worked the Air Show.  It was a lot of fun seeing different military planes.

Each year the base hosts an Air Show in the middle of May.  They show off planes stationed at the base as well as acrobatic and fighter planes too.  There were both stand alone displays as well as flight demonstrations.  Many bases around the country have Air Shows.  Where I grew up in Virginia, had just as big of an Air Show.  Anyone, military or not, is welcome.  It’s a chance for the public to see all of the cool things the military does!

Here are a few photos I managed to capture:

Planes in Formation:

air force air show

air force air show

They brought in several fighter jets! We even got to watch them do a “sonic boom” which was neat.

air force air show

Standing Demonstrations:

I also got to tour one of the KC-10 Refueling plane. The plane’s main job is to refuel other aircraft while flying.  It made me think: what if we had to refuel our cars while driving?  It’s an interesting concept…

Sitting in the cockpit
Sitting in the cockpit
Standing next to one of the engines
Standing next to one of the engines of a KC-10

 

The biggest plane that exists, the C5-Galexy
The biggest plane that exists, the C5-Galexy

Here’s the demonstration they did.  Not my video, but they did a great job capturing the event.  The KC-10 is the plane with an engine in the tail.  During the “stunt”, it’s refueling the other plane.  Normally they do this much higher, but they were only 2000 feet off the ground.  To give you perspective, they were doing this about 200 feet higher than the One World Trade Center tip.  They can refuel anything from fighter planes to bigger tanker aircraft (as shown) to even other KC-10s.

Hopefully, everyone has a great weekend!

Questions for you:
Have you ever been to a base Air Show?
What are your weekend plans?  

One Year of Marriage

Today is my husband and I’s first year anniversary.  Many of LOLZ readers know how we met and our love story, but it’s fun to reshare.

aisle 2

 Here is a quick summary:

We met running in college.  We dated for the second half of senior year then maintained a long-distance relationship for a year and a half after college.  I decided to move to Texas, September of 2013 and we promptly moved to New Jersey after.  After living in NJ for a while, we got on engaged April Fools Day 2014.  A year of wedding planning went by and we got married April 12, 2015.  Now we just finished year one of marriage.  Good thing I blog so I can remember everything. 

But here is the longer version:

In the fall of 2011, we met at a cross country scrimmage race between our colleges.  After the scrimmage, we talked for a while and went on a run a few weeks later.  During that time, I was coming back from my tibia stress fracture.  I wasn’t supposed to worry about pace.  It was towards the end of the season so my goal was to make it through the season healthy.  I barely ran with my own team, let alone some random guy I had the hots for.

We didn’t run together until after the cross country season but we occasionally chatted.  I was knee deep in a recent college major change and Tim was a chemical engineer, so we were both busy. When we finally ran together in November, Tim was getting ready for Nordic skiing so his focus wasn’t pace or time either.  Running at a slower pace didn’t matter.

Eventually after several runs, we hung out. By that time, the semester was over and it was time to go home for winter break.  I grew up in VA Beach and he grew up in PA so we didn’t live close.

Tim actually came down and hung out for New Years.  We ran the Beat the Ball 5k as well as the Hair of the Dog 5k.

In the spring, we started “officially dating”.  I think I even mentioned on the blog: OMG you guys, a new boy in my life”  (just kidding).  I don’t even know how it came up through blogging…

This was about 3 years ago at the greatest night out in my life. I won a contest rapping Nicki Minaj superbass.
This was about 3 years ago at the greatest night out in my life.
I won a contest rapping Nicki Minaj super bass.

In May of 2012, we graduated and decided to try a long distance relationship.  Our options at that point were to try a distance relationship or break up.  Tim went to school in Texas and I began working in Oswego, NY.

The first few months were tough. By November, we were able to see each other for the first time since June.  I loved my time in Oswego and it was one of the most pivotal and influential years of my life.  I am so glad I chose to go there but it was hard to not be together.

My first visit to Texas
My first visit to Texas

After Thanksgiving, we saw each other again for Christmas, then in March and in May. As we adjusted, it was easier.  After nearly a year, we made the decision I would move to Texas.  As much as I enjoyed my job in Oswego, I wanted to continue my relationship with Tim and had to move eventually (he did not have that choice).

Less than two weeks after I moved to the middle of nowhere, Texas, Tim graduated his training. We were told we were moving to New Jersey. Neither of us knew anything about NJ except people drive quickly on the turnpike.

Tim's flight school graduation
Graduation

After living in New Jersey for 2+ years, we both love the area.  It’s close to Philadelphia, New York City, the shore and both of our families.   It’s the perfect location for us right now.

We got married on April 12, 2015, in Norfolk, VA.  We truly had a wonderful time at our wedding and were lucky so many friends and family that could attend.  We took our wedding as a celebration and party and that’s exactly what it was.

After getting married, we went on a honeymoon and cruise.  It was one of the best vacations of my life.

Southern Most Point
Southern Most Point

Due to travel and work, my husband has been gone about half of our first year of marriage.  It wasn’t a secret this would happen.  I can’t say it’s been easy all of the time but we have made it work.

To be honest, it hasn’t been a crazy transformation or change since getting married.  We lived together for over a year before getting married so there were many quirks we were both familiar with.  Like any couple, we’ve had our ups and downs but we try to support each other through everything.

I feel so lucky to be celebrating our first year of marriage and many more.

Some of my favorite moments together:

Going to my college roommates wedding
Going to my college roommates wedding
Visiting Texas
Visiting Texas
Winning a growler at a half marathon in Texas
Winning a growler at a half marathon in Texas
Our first Christmas Tree
Our first Christmas Tree

Hollie & Tim-695-X2

Honeymoon
Honeymoon…because why not buy these shirts?
Tim and I
Enjoying the Jersey Shore
The one time our fitness was at the same point...
The one time our running fitness was at the same point…

wedding 9

Here are some of the wedding posts if you want to look back on those:
Rejected Wedding Ideas
Lengthy Wedding Post
The Wedding

First dance
First dance

As always, thank you to friends and family for your love and support.  It feels amazing to celebrate our first year of marriage together and we could not be happier.